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Yonk Trendsetta and Big Vision are the powerful hip-hop duo Stud Passion.
Based in Gainesville, Florida, these two women have independent music careers – both equipped with head-turning rapping and singing skills. Together as Stud Passion, they are a force to be reckoned with.
The pair met after Vision heard a Yonk song and was thoroughly impressed: “I saw the video and was like, yo, she can rap, but I heard the tone, and a singer always knows a singer.”
After relentlessly messaging Yonk on social media, Vision was able to persuade Yonk to come to a show at The Cypher House in Gainesville. Something clicked. They began performing and recording together. They’ve released two singles and there’s a mixtape on the way.
Both women are gay and openly incorporate their love for women into their art and style. They say that for the most part, the hip-hop community has been welcoming. The gals encounter some creepiness from straight men, but they don’t let that stop them.
“You have certain men who are just disrespectful regardless of my being out, but they’re not going to decide who I am.” Referring to her masculine fashion choices, Vision notes that “it’s quite evident what’s going on here.”
That doesn’t mean life as a gay woman has been easy. Yonk faced religious homophobia growing up.
“In high school I fell head over heels for a girl. I knew I really liked her but I still thought, I ain’t gay though. My family is all about church. Gay is not accepted. If you’re gay, you’re going to hell. Growing up with these ideas and feeling these emotions towards women made me very confused at 15. I dated a girl who liked me because I dressed like a tomboy. My mom was not having that shit. She burned my clothes. I got my first job at KFC when I was 16 so I could buy my own clothes.”
These days, Yonk enjoys close relationships with her family members – over time love and acceptance have ruled.
Vision was fortunate to grow up with an openly-gay older sister, who took “most of the backlash.”
As far as their position today within the hip-hop community, Yonk would say gay men endure more homophobia than women do.
“Honestly, gay men have it harder. I feel like as masculine women, straight men feel a little intimated by us, but with gay men it’s more nasty. Straight men have a perception that gay men wanna be a woman.”
Homophobia in hip-hop is not only a thing amongst artists, it has roots in the mechanisms of the industry.
“Each segment of the entertainment industry is different when it comes to homophobia,” says Dr. David Baker-Hargrove, an Orlando therapist with an LGBTQ+ practice that has served quite a few entertainers over the years. “The theater community is much more accepting, and the same is true for theme park performers.”
Baker-Hargrove notes the irony that the music industry may be the most conservative when it comes to identity differences.
“It’s strange because music is such a reflection of everyone’s identity. It’s odd that it tends to be so rigid, and it must be the king-makers in the industry who are behind all that. These days, independent artists can put themselves out there and get a following, but if you look back at the eighties and nineties, the industry controlled everything, and they decided that gay rappers were not going to get played,” he continues.
The duo’s first single, Eat Hoe, is a song that celebrates their love (and lust) for women. Drawing from rhetoric commonly associated with male rappers, this melodic tune fits into current trends of women owning their sexuality. The chorus doesn’t hold back:
Fuck it up
You better eat hoe
Ride out ride out ride
Pussy popping in ya tip toes
Ride out ride out ride
Vision proudly proclaims that their songs are meant “to get the girls dancing.” Her impressive verse describes the type of woman she likes. She explains, “I know the type of fun-loving women I deal with. They want their nails done and if I can afford it, they want that $35,000 Birkin bag, or a Nissan Maxima. I just went in there and literally freestyled, and my verse was a hit.”
You can check out Eat Hoe and Lied 2 Me (below) on YouTube. Stud Passion will be releasing a mixtape on all streaming platforms this summer.
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